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Friday 20 August 2010

New Prizes in the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition

The Aesthetica Creative Works Competition is drawing to a close soon so make sure that you enter before Tuesday 31st August if you want to participate!

The competition is dedicated to encouraging and supporting creative talent from across the disciplines and there are three categories in the competition: artwork & photography, poetry and short fiction.

As you know, the winner of each category receives £500 and the winners and finalists of each category are published in our Aesthetica Creative Works Annual. But that’s not all! In addition to this, we’ve managed to source some fantastic additional prizes for each of the winners and we wanted to share these with you.

First up is the extra prize for the Artwork & Photography winner. This is a beautiful selection of books from the art publisher, Prestel. Prestel have offered an amazing set of prizes; the mammoth sized Kandinsky collection is a particular favourite, offering a comprehensive study into the life and work of the famous Russian artist, but take a look at the other books we’re offering below:

Chuck Close: Life
tells the inspiring story of one of the most important contemporary artists, chronicling Close’s determination and success at continuing to make art after a tragedy that left him almost completely paralysed from the neck down.

In The Ultimate Trophy: How the Impressionist Painting Conquered the World, Philip Hook, Senior Director of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art department, examines the public’s change of heart toward Impressionism. Drawn from Hook’s own experiences with art collectors and dealers, this fascinating chapter in art history is narrated through the lens of today’s art market and contains 79 illustrations.

Our fourth book in this selection is a retrospective book on illustrator Maira Kalman. For decades this brilliant artist has captured our hearts with her whimsical illustrations and engaged our minds with her trenchant observations and this collection is a wonderful celebration of a life dedicated to making art.

Last, but most definitely not least, is the excellent John Baldessari book, Pure Beauty. Packed to the brim with more than 150 of Baldessari’s works presented in full colour, it is a stunning publication. Eleven essays by critics, curators, art historians and former students round off this volume which was published in conjunction with a major exhibition at Tate Modern and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

For the winner of the fiction category we’ve teamed up with Granta and Portobello to offer an astounding array of new and recent books, as well as a subscription to the excellent Granta magazine for the lucky winner. The books are below:

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.
A brilliantly inventive, wildly funny and humane new novel, set in an economically and politically collapsed America, by the author of the bestselling Absurdistan. In a very near future a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse and Lenny Abramoc vows to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, there is still value in being a real human being. Read our review of this book in the current issue of Aesthetica.

My Friend Jesus Christ by Lars Husum.
When Nick is 13, he loses his parents in a car-crash. His sister, seven years his elder, is left to look after him. As he grows up he cannot bear the thought of losing her protection and goes to extremes to retain her care and attention. An intruder in his flat convinces Nick, first, that he is Jesus Christ, and, second, that he must now take charge of Nick’s life.

Circus Bulgaria by Deyan Enev.
This new collection of tales masterfully encapsulates the zeitgeist of a post-communist society in all its weirdness and wonder. Drawing on the monsters and myths of Balkan folklore, the brutal reality of the Communist regime, and the dazzling magic of Enev’s own imagination, these stories have an almost hypnotic and surreal quality. Absurd, both painfully funny and deeply sad, Circus Bulgaria reaches straight into the cracked heart of Eastern Europe.

Are We Related: The New Granta Book of the Family ed. Liz Jobey,
Granta Books’ publication, in 1993, of Blake Morrison’s When Did You Last See Your Father heralded the huge rise in popularity of the literary memoir, and since then, Granta has carried pieces of non-fiction and fiction about the family from writers including Hanif Kureishi, Jackie Kay and Paul Theroux. The New Granta Book of the Family collects together a stunning variety of pieces about every member of the family.

Bloodaxe Books are offering an inspiring collection of poetry books for the winner of the poetry category.

Being Alive is the sequel to Neil Astley’s Staying Alive. Now Astley has assembled this equally lively companion anthology, filled with poems that touch the heart, stir the mind and fire the spirit. Being Alive is about being human: about love and loss, fear and longing, hurt and wonder, bringing readers a wide selection of vivid, brilliantly diverse contemporary poetry from around the world.

Roddy Lumsden presents new British and Irish poetry at a time of great vibrancy and variety in Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets. Eclectic, diverse and wide-ranging in scope, the book fully reflects the climate of “the pluralist now”. It offers the work of 85 highly individual and distinctive talents whose poems display the breadth of styles characteristic of our current poetry and many new poets appear alongside this generation’s most celebrated names.

Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century is a vibrant anthology introducing 21 of the most exciting young poets of the 21st century. Young editors, James Byrne and Clare Pollard set out to showcase the work of a talented new wave of poets from Britain and Ireland and to identify the best young poets of today. Their poems show a lively range of styles and subjects – sometimes sexy, sometimes dark, but consistently brimming with vitality. The future of poetry begins here.

Fleur Adcock was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for her book Poems 1960 – 2000 but Dragon Talk is her first new collection for a decade. This collection continues to reflect her preoccupations with family matters and with her ambivalent feelings about her native New Zealand with her usual sardonic eye for incongruities and absurdities.

The fifth poetry book is TS Eliot Prize winner, The Water Table, by Philip Gross. A powerful body of water lies at the heart of these poems, with shoals and channels that change with the forty-foot tide. Philip Gross’s meditations move with subtle steps between these shifting grounds and those of the man-made world, the ageing body and that ever-present mystery, the self. Admirers of his work know each new collection is a new stage; this one marks a crossing into a new questioning, new clarity and depth.

Enter the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition now to be in with a chance of winning these fabulous collections! You can find out more information about the competition here. Last week we caught up with Louise Beech, who won the fiction category last year; read our interview with her here.

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